ST. CHARLES – Community and class are combining into one program at St. Charles East and North high schools in the INCubatoredu program.
Joining the available class options in Fall 2018, the INCubatoredu program seeks to build “authentic and experiential" learning experiences for the students who are enrolled in the program, according to Margarita Geleske, INCubatoredu chief evangelist.
“The students will be learning business concepts and practices that are used currently in the real world,” Geleske said. “[INCubatoredu] is more about how to create a business and set it up for the greatest success.”
The program will be a collaboration between St. Charles School District 303 and Uncharted Learning, a nonprofit that develops business and entrepreneur educational programs for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Melissa Byrne, School District 303 associate director of curriculum, said the INCubatoredu program will be available for sophomores through seniors.
“I’m so excited for the opportunities this will create for our students,” Byrne said. “This is a unique opportunity for our students to learn the process of becoming true entrepreneurs. They’ll also have the opportunity to work with community and local business owners.”
Byrne said the program has about 70 students signed up so far, but expects that number to grow later in the spring as students consult with their counselors and decide what classes to take. Any interested students can register for the program.
The way the program works is by having the students identify a problem that needs a solution, according to Geleske.
“They test and validate to see if the problem is real and then test solutions,” she said.
The program has reached not only St. Charles, but is implemented in schools across Illinois and the U.S. Featured in 15 states and also in more than 20 school districts across Illinois, the program creates successful entrepreneurs. This can be seen in a former INCubatoredu participant who attended Wheeling High School, Martin Dimitrov, who found success with securing funding for his business on “Shark Tank.”
The INCubatoredu experience will be different based on the area it is based in.
“What makes each program distinctive to each school is the community,” Geleske said. “Each one of the schools has a different personality and business leaders who make this program magical and distinctive … . Another key is the teachers at St. Charles North and St. Charles East high schools."
INCubatoredu is searching for local business leaders to help by becoming a class coach or a team mentor for groups of students.